Zambia’s civic space is open, inclusive and citizens are free to exercise their rights and freedoms which contribute to strengthening of democracy, authorities say.
Acting Minister of Foriegn Affairs, Mulambo Haimbe cited the various by-elections that had been held around the country at various levels, as one example.
Haimbe said this during the 2024 Zambia–European Union (EU) Partnership Dialogue, held in Lusaka on Tuesday under the auspices of the New Partnership Framework of the Samoa Agreement, which came into force on January, 1, 2024.
He said the elections had been held in peaceful circumstances devoid of any political violence, indicating that violence had been rejected, as a means to express discontent.
Haimbe who is also Minister of Justice claimed that the playing field had also been levelled by the ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) administration.
“Furthermore, you will recall that in December 2022, President Hakainde Hichilema signed into law, legislation to abolish the death penalty,” the Minister stated.
He said Zambia had now joined over 107 countries in demonstrating its commitment to upholding human rights and preserving life.
Haimbe highlighted that in August 2023, Zambia assumed its tenure as Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence, and Security for the period 2023–2024.
“Since assuming Chairperson of the SADC Organ, Zambia has led successful SADC Electoral Observer Missions to, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” the Minister said.
He assured that Zambia also remained committed to the maintenance of peace and security in the region, as instability anywhere, was instability everywhere.
Haimbe reiterated Zambia’s condemnation of ongoing wars, near and far, and urged the earnest and forthright pursuit of peace by all parties in the various conflict areas, through diplomatic means.
The Minister emphasized that the EU continued to be an invaluable partner to Zambia in many sectors such as health, trade, environmental sustainability, education and poverty reduction, among others.
“I am happy to state that the Annual Zambia- EU Dialogue provides an excellent opportunity to discuss progress made in our joint efforts towards sustainable economic growth, socio-economic development and good governance,” he said.
EU Ambassador to Zambia and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, Kalorina Stasiak, stated that Zambia was a priority country for the EU and a strategic partner to tackle global challenges and develop common interest.
“EU’s and Zambia’s long standing like mindeness has allowed us to develop a strong partnership on democracy, governance, human rights and economic cooperation, investment transitioning to green infrastructure and connectivity,” Stasiak said.
She noted that since the last dialogue in June, 2022, the partnership had intensified with several visits such as the visit to Zambia by Germany Chancellor and President Hichilemas reciprocal and visit to Italy.
Stasiak stated that the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding on forest partnerships, critical raw materials and development of Lobito Corridor further lifts the partnership to higher levels.
“The partnership will support job creation in Zambia and the region as well as support the EU’s green agenda,” she emphasized.
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